65% of firms predict financial wellbeing challenge

New research has found that two-thirds (65%) of HR decision makers predicted financial wellbeing will become the next big employee challenge.

Pensions organisation Scottish Widows, which surveyed more than 500 HR leaders from UK businesses, revealed that monetary concerns during the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic have led to almost half of workers experiencing increased anxiety and stress. In addition, four in 10 claimed financial challenges have had a negative impact on employee productivity and motivation.

More than six in 10 (65%) respondents said employees are increasingly willing to discuss their mental health and 52% of staff look to their employer for support on issues such as personal debt, increased personal costs related to working from home, and saving for retirement. As many as 36% of employers have increased their contributions to employee pensions beyond the legal minimum, while 34% plan to do so within the next two years.

In addition, 29% have referred their workers to an independent financial adviser for advice on current and future financial issues, including saving for retirement, and 54% agree that their business needs to do more to support employees with financial wellbeing issues.

Graeme Bold, workplace pensions director at Scottish Widows, believes staff who are worried about their finances will often struggle at work and need extra help to get back on track.

He explained that it is “crucial” for employers to take the lead in supporting their employees with financial wellbeing and long-term resilience and that fostering a culture of support, openness and engagement will lead to “happier and more productive workplaces”.

“Forward-thinking companies could extend this support to financial wellbeing, for example, implementing a financial wellbeing policy or referring employees to an IFA for advice. A solid support system will help workers to build up their financial resilience, in turn enabling them to focus on their work – which will hopefully lead to career progression to further help them financially,” Bold said.